Saturday, August 31, 2013

Thomas Meyer Edmonton Visit - Update with Corrections

- by Rogelle Pelletier

 This is in response to  [Ann Watson's] quick summary of the history of the Theosophical Society...There are a number of errors included there so I have taken the liberty of providing you with a brief outline of my own for your future reference.

The Theosophical Society was formed in New York in 1875. Among those present were HP Blavatsky, Wm Q Judge and Col HS Olcott. These three have become recognized as the three principal founders.

In December 1878 Blavatsky and Olcott moved the headquarters of the TS to India where it was hoped they could revive the respect of the Indians for the ancient wisdom preserved by them for centuries. Blavatsky & Olcott initially joined efforts with Arya Samaj but eventually went their own way, establishing a headquarters first in Bombay and later in Adyar, where it remains to the present day.

When Blavatsky and Olcott left in 1878, Wm Q Judge and General Doubleday were left to look after affairs in America. Things were relatively quiet there for some years. Judge spent time with Blavatsky in Europe where she was visiting in 1884. From there he went to India for some months, returning to New York in November 1884.

Activity picked up in America upon Judge’s return and the American branches of the Theosophical Society became fairly numerous and well established. The American Section was formed in 1887.

Annie Besant became involved with the Theosophical Society after reviewing Blavatsky’s major work: /The Secret Doctrine/ and joined in 1889. Blavatsky died in May 1891. Besant had spent a lot of time touring and did not spend a lot of time with Blavatsky. While she was a good lecturer, Blavatsky herself described her as ‘’not psychic nor spiritual in the least -- all intellect’’, whereas she described Judge as having been a part of her for eons. Shortly after Blavatsky’s death Besant accused Judge of fraudulently producing letters from the Mahatmas. She pursued him relentlessly, and continued to attack his character even after Judge died in 1896.

Judge was named as General Secretary when the American Section was established in 1887. The goings-on described above led to a split in the Society in 1895, with those loyal to Judge and the original program of the Theosophical Society forming the independent TS in America, although at the time all they had requested was to have more independence in the running of their affairs, but under the umbrella of the original Society.

Branches (known as ‘lodges’ here) in Canada were considered part of the American Section. Canada became its own Canadian Section with its own General Secretary in 1919. For many years it remained directly affiliated with The Theosophical Society in Adyar, India.

In 1991 TS in Canada was thrown out of the Adyar organization on a technicality. Adyar very much follows the Besant/Leadbeater brand of Theosophy and TS in Canada has maintained loyalty to the original program; we have been a ‘thorn in the side of Adyar’ for many years. When TS in Canada was forced to make changes to its By-Laws because of demands put upon it by the Government of Canada to comply, Adyar took offense to these changes. On January 1st, 1991 Adyar decided that by our actions we had /withdrawn/ from The Theosophical Society.

In 1995 difficulties within TS in Canada resulted in the then General Secretary throwing Edmonton TS out of its ranks – and that’s how ETS became its own independent unit. We are friends with one and all, but are not officially affiliated with any other theosophical organization... We are looking forward to Thomas and Orsolya's visit.

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